Are small towns “too tiny to be xenophobic?” asked The Watershed Post, a new web-based newspaper in Delhi, New York. Editor Julia Reischel attended a panel discussion last night about a new movie, Bienvenidos a Fleischmanns, that is about the growth of the Hispanic community in Fleischmanns, New York. Last night four academics, faculty members at a nearby state university discussed immigration patterns in upstate New York.
Jessica Vecchione is the filmmaker and she was joined on the panel by others who discussed how the new Hispanic population was getting along with Fleishmanns seasonal population of Orthodox Jews. Vecchione said the two groups were getting along just fine, a function, perhaps of living in a small town. See the clips for an interesting discussion.
We can also turn to Henry Beetle Hough’s classic book, Country Editor, first published in 1940. Hough was editor of The Vinyard Gazette, the weekly newspaper on Martha’s Vinyard. He wrote 70 years ago: “The great thing about the small town is its spirit of tolerance and understanding. The gossips may talk meanly, and the scandals go to the rounds quickly, but when all is said and done the town looks after its own because it must.” True enough.